“It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again”
For Me and My Pooh Dog

Yogi Berra was a famous baseball player, but he is also remembered for his long list of paradoxical statements. He loved to say, “It's déjà vu all over again.” It was his way of expressing humor. Over the years, I have written a dozen or more essays in which I have quoted Yogi Berra’s déjà vu statement. However, this article uses again Yogi Berra’s one-liner, but I have added to it. “It's déjà vu all over again…and again.”

This is the backstory. I have danced with death twice in 2008. One dance, which involved a subdural hematoma or traumatic brain injury, was a short dance with death. The other was much longer. That dance was due to metastatic prostate cancer. It started with having a da Vinci type of surgery and then hormone therapy and radiation. However, so far, the cancer hasn’t reoccurred for about eight years.

While I would not wish to go through either medical problem again, I would not delete them from my life. In the long run, they were blessings. Both dances awoke me to the reality that my clock is ticking. Unless you have done some type of dance, you will say that you know that your clock is ticking, but that is merely an intellectual fact. Therefore, I am ultrasensitive to enjoying the time still remaining for me. My two dances were blessings, which radically changed my life. Randy Pausch said to thank people who in some manner have helped you, because someday you won’t be around to thank them.

For example, a half century ago, I got an Irish Setter. When I returned from a year of post-graduate studies at New College at the University of Edinburgh, I got a job and then got my first Irish Setter. Her name was Ginger. Over more than a dozen years, Ginger was there to watch my family expand to three children. Ginger cared for each of them as they were toddlers just learning how to walk. She’d stand there next to them watching in case they needed to hold on to her.

Ginger remained a part of the family for years until she began to have some medical issues. It was apparent that her clock was ticking. One day, I knew that she wasn’t going to make it as she laid on the floor. She wasn’t in pain. So, I just laid down next to her and gently petted her for an hour or so. Then she died quietly. That was one of the worst days of my life. I still choke up writing about it.

I am now in my twilight years and knowing full well that my time here on Earth is greatly limited. Therefore, I want to enjoy my life to the fullest. In addition, reflecting upon getting my second Irish Setter in my early 70s, I realize, in part, that I am attempting to relive and enjoy the past by enjoying the moment in the now.

I drove from Crown Point, IN to Home, PA, which took eight hours just it pick up my second Ginger. Was I excited about getting Ginger II just before Christmas? She was born on October 28, 2016. To be honest with you, I’m not sure whether my 8-week-old puppy or I was more excited with our union.

Ginger is now 2 ½ and has had some minor medical issues, all of which have been resolved, except for one problem. That one problem consisted of her drooling, scratching her ear, and occasionally vomiting. I took her to her vet, Dr. Sabuda, who ran all sorts of tests without finding anything definitive. It was then that Dr. Sabedra suggested taking her to Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which is a huge hospital for small animals. There is also a hospital for large animals.

The first person Ginger and I met was Jesse, who will be graduating in a year from now as a veterinarian. We talked about Ginger, she checked her out, and then reported to her clinician, Dr. Cheney. Then both returned to discuss with me regarding Ginger’s medical issues. Jesse had Ginger on a leash while Dr. Cheney did her exam. However, Ginger looked at me as if to say, “Why doesn’t she just play with me? I’ll show her what we do at home.”

This was all done in the morning; I left and returned home while Ginger remained to be observed. The next day, Ginger had an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, which was a procedure, which contained a device with a light and an instrument to get biopsies of her esophagus, stomach, and the beginning of her small intestines. Additionally, she had an abdominal CT. It will take a week to ten days to get the biopsies back. While Ginger was dealing with the esophagogastroduodenoscopy, I was visiting my cardiologist for a routine examination, which went well.

I returned to pick up Ginger the following day in the late afternoon. I met with Jesse and another of the school’s clinicians, Dr. Embersics. By now, Ginger was happy to see me. She knew that I was going to take her back home with me.

Ginger and I had a great experience at Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. However, when Ginger and I returned to Crown Point, it all hit me again, or as Yoga Berra said, “It's déjà vu all over again.” Flashbacks of my first Ginger and the day that she died. I had asked Dr. Embersics what she thought would be the results when the tests came back. She thought that the chances were good that it is just some allergy, which can be resolved by changing her diet. In fact, Jesse had already gotten several bags of the special diet food for Ginger, which contained some kangaroo mixed into the food. Nevertheless, Ginger isn’t chowing down the dog food with kangaroo in it.

“It's déjà vu all over again” applied not only to reliving Ginger I and Ginger II, but what looms on the horizon for me. Therefore, the return ride from Purdue to Crown Point was happy, but it was a mixed time with Ginger I’s death, my two dances, and what the future holds for Ginger and me.

Since neither of us knows the future, we need to enjoy the moment. Both our clocks are ticking. Ginger, if all goes well, will have another dozen years, which means that I have to remain healthy for that long also. Therefore, we need to enjoy the moment…they won’t last forever.

Ginger knew that I was proofing this essay and came up to me. She asked whether I wanted to go for a walk with her and enjoy the moment together.